Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Cambodia

Media release

14 July 2010

Today I announce the appointment of Ms Penny Richards as Australia's Ambassador to Cambodia. Ms Richards replaces Ms Margaret Adamson who has been Ambassador since April 2007. Ms Richards is expected to take up her appointment in September.

Australia and Cambodia enjoy a long-standing and warm friendship. The bilateral relationship continues to broaden and deepen. People-to-people and education links are growing strongly. Australian Cambodians make an important contribution to enhancing the relationship.

Bilateral trade and investment links have significant potential. Australian companies are actively pursuing business opportunities in Cambodia, often through joint ventures with Cambodian companies, which support the country's broader economic development. This is especially the case in the mining, agriculture, transport, tourism and education sectors.

Australia and Cambodia work together on a wide range of regional and international issues. These include combating people smuggling and trafficking, child sex tourism, narcotics trafficking and international terrorism.

Australia works closely with Cambodia in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the associated organisations of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

This multilateral cooperation now also extends to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of which Cambodia is a coordinating member and Australia became a member in May 2009. ASEM links Asia and Europe, through ASEAN and the European Union, by facilitating discussion on political, economic and cultural relations. Australia will attend its first summit in October this year in Brussels.

Through our development assistance program, estimated at $64 million in 2010-11, Australia is committed to assisting Cambodia reduce poverty through agricultural development, strengthening health service delivery, the law and justice system and improving infrastructure for employment and growth.

Australia has been a long-term supporter of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), established to try Khmer Rouge leaders most responsible for crimes against humanity during the period 1975-79. Australia made a further commitment of $5 million for 2010 and 2011 last month.

Ms Richards is a senior officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently the Senior Legal Adviser, International Organisations and Legal Division, a position she has held since 2006. Ms Richards has extensive experience within the Department and has served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission in Tokyo and Beijing, Consul-General in Shanghai and has also served in Jakarta and Tokyo.

Ms Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) degree and a Bachelor of Law degree from the Australian National University. Ms Richards is married.

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